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My Kid is THAT Kid

The twins are in robotics camp, and their counselor led them through an engineering exercise utilizing pretzel sticks and marshmallows.  They were told that they’d be able to eat their constructions once the lesson was understood, a point that informed the conversation that the ChickieNob relayed to me while we drove home in the afternoon.

ChickieNob: I told her that I couldn’t use marshmallows because we keep kosher.  But she didn’t know the word “kosher.”

Me: Well, most Americans don’t…

ChickieNob: (interrupting) So I told her that they were treyf, but she didn’t know that word either.

Me: As I was saying, most Americans don’t.  You need to just tell them that you’re vegetarian.  They understand that.

Wolvog: I am seven years old, and I know the word treyf.  And my counselor is 27, and she didn’t know the word at all.  I’m a kid, and she’s an adult.

Me: It has nothing to do with age or intelligence.  It’s not an English word, and even some Jewish people don’t know it.  You only know it due to life experience.  You know, you could have used the marshmallows.

ChickieNob: No, I couldn’t.  They’re made with dead fish bones.

Me: I mean, just make it so you can do the activity, and then don’t eat it.  Or do eat it if you want to try it.  You need to make your own decisions about that.

ChickieNob: I am not putting dead fish bone candy in my mouth.

Me: For the love.

ChickieNob: I told my counselor that we don’t eat candy like this, and then she bent down and whispered, “why?” and I told her because of the dead fish bones.

Me: Fine.

ChickieNob: But then everything got a little crazy.  Because the other kids noticed we weren’t using the marshmallows and asked us why, and I told them that I knew something that they didn’t know, but I wasn’t supposed to tell other people if their parents hadn’t told them.  And then they freaked out and kept shouting, “what is wrong with marshmallows?” and my counselor got very concerned and told the kids to go home and Google it if they really wanted to know but that we weren’t going to talk about it at camp.  She had to say that a lot of times.  I guess I just don’t understand why parents don’t tell their kids about the dead fish bones.”

Me: Because other children don’t read labels and say, “what is gelatin?”

Wolvog: It’s dead fish bones.

Me: Seriously, why couldn’t you just use the marshmallows?

ChickieNob: Because of the dead fish bones.

Me: Then how did you do the activity and learn the engineering lesson?

ChickieNob: (dreamily) I just imagined it in my brain and that was enough.  And then we ate the pretzels.

Apologies to all other children who come in contact with mine.


1 HereWeGoAJen { 07.11.12 at 7:45 am }


I’m am surprised that the counselor didn’t know what kosher meant. I thought that was general knowledge. And if not, it’s something I came across a lot when I was school teaching and camp counseling. (It is difficult to keep four two year old’s kosher in a classroom of nineteen kids.)

2 Meghan { 07.11.12 at 7:49 am }

I am shocked that someone in this area didn’t know what kosher meant. Even if he or she didnt understand the specifics, at least know it means dietary restrictions. Geez…

And I love the mania of a room full of kids hysterical about marshmallows 😉

3 BigP's Heather { 07.11.12 at 8:00 am }

I learned what kosher meant when we were given “training” for selling girl scout cookies door to door back in the dark ages. I don’t know all the specifics…but I thought most people would have heard the term?

4 Bree { 07.11.12 at 8:00 am }

We are from the liberal-yet-kinda-WASPy northwest, yet all of our counselors/cafeteria ladies/teachers know about kosher and Halal, plus vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free…

Tell me that counselor won’t be teaching them stuff they’ll need later to demonstrate intelligence… Maybe, just maybe, she’s not a good role model on that front.

5 Mud Hut Mama { 07.11.12 at 8:08 am }

I love it! You definitely know your kids will do what they feel is right rather than follow the crowd and that is a wonderful thing!

6 Tiara { 07.11.12 at 8:17 am }

That is hilarious & adorable! I too am surprised the counselor didn’t know what kosher was. I’d never hear the word treyf but I know what kosher is.

7 M { 07.11.12 at 8:34 am }


8 Carla { 07.11.12 at 8:37 am }

Mel, your next book should be a collection called “Conversations with the Wolvog and the ChickieNob”!

9 Bea { 07.11.12 at 8:39 am }

I thought everybody everywhere knew the word kosher.

But apart from that, it’s pretty funny. I think it would be great to have yours educate mine some day!

10 Her Royal Fabulousness { 07.11.12 at 8:41 am }

She really didn’t know the word Kosher?! Really? That seems so strange to me.

As a teacher, I have to smile at Chickie’s argument 🙂

11 Devon { 07.11.12 at 9:11 am }

I think THAT kid is awesome!

12 Sushigirl { 07.11.12 at 9:11 am }

When I saw the title of this post I thought they must have been screaming on public transport, peeing in the corner of a restaurant or similar! Glad I was wrong!

I hadn’t heard of treyf, but surely everyone knows what kosher is? Or, as someone upthread said, that it’s to do with dietary requirements even if they don’t know the specifics.

13 Pale { 07.11.12 at 9:11 am }

Awesome story, Mel.

“(dreamily) I just imagined it in my brain and that was enough. And then we ate the pretzels.”

Fist bump to the Chickie. Visual thinkers RULE.

14 Delenn { 07.11.12 at 9:16 am }

Love it! 🙂

15 loribeth { 07.11.12 at 9:19 am }

Bwahahahaha!!! Thanks, Mel, I needed a laugh this morning. ; )

I too am baffled that the counsellor had never heard of “kosher.” There weren’t many Jewish people where I lived growing up, but I most certainly had heard of the word on TV, etc. (even if I was a bit hazy on the specifics).

Of course, now that I think about it, we don’t see as many Jewish characters on TV these days as we did when I was growing up — all the “Borscht Belt” comedians, etc. Maybe that has something to do with it?

16 JB { 07.11.12 at 9:23 am }

Hahaha. Thanks for the morning laugh 🙂 You have some very bright children on your hands! As a high school English teacher, I would love to have them in an argument class! And now, I’m seriously considering eating marshmellows. I had no idea about the dead fish bones!

17 Amy { 07.11.12 at 9:31 am }

we had a similar issue with Dorothy and Jello this year. I don’t recall why, but there was an activity at school and the teacher made jello to demonstrate something, and the kids could eat it. Well….dorothy started crying and finally explained that she couldn’t do the activity because Jello isn’t kosher. I tried explaining to her that she could DO the activity, and just not EAT it.
Thanks for the laugh. I’m glad its not just me.

18 Alicia { 07.11.12 at 9:40 am }

Hahahaha, awesome!!

19 KeAnne { 07.11.12 at 9:45 am }

Oh, that was hysterical! What amazing children you have! Like everyone else, I’m a little surprised the counselor didn’t know what kosher was. Even growing up in podunk NC, I knew what kosher was!

20 gwinne { 07.11.12 at 9:49 am }

This is absolutely hilarious, on so many levels.

My kid would so get along with your kid.

21 magpie { 07.11.12 at 10:32 am }

i’m a shiksa and i know from treyf. i also knew that marshmallows weren’t vegetarian because of the gelatin – but I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE DEAD FISH BONES. really? i thought the gelatin was from cow bones. not that that would make the vegetarian thing any better but… DEAD FISH BONES?

22 Rebecca { 07.11.12 at 10:56 am }

Oh, that’s just hilarious!!

But, seriously, I’m with everyone else — I’m from the deep south and living in the rural midwest and, while I wouldn’t expect people to know what things are kosher and what aren’t, the people around here at least know what kosher means. Or, maybe they don’t and I’ve just been deluding myself? I’m going to start asking.

23 k { 07.11.12 at 11:10 am }

Oh my. LOL. I agree, kosher should not be a term a 27 year old doesn’t know. Good grief. And I have “that” kid too, only with mine it’s the two-mom thing. She happily announced at holiday program practice in kindergarten that the crying kid was her brother (he has stage fright) and that he has two moms. At the dentist she schooled the technician when she said she was going to have fresh breath to kiss her mommy and daddy with. It’s a good thing we aren’t ashamed of who we are because she sure as heck isn’t! 😉 I’m proud of your girl, she stood up for herself and did what she thought was right. Mark of a good family in my book.

24 Becky { 07.11.12 at 11:24 am }

I (as a 34yo) know what Kosher means, but I had no idea about the marshmallows. Thanks for the giggle – and thanks to the twins for letting you share it 😉

25 Stupid Stork { 07.11.12 at 11:32 am }

Kosher? There are people who still don’t know the word kosher? REALLY?!?

Treyf, fine. But Kosher?!

26 deathstar { 07.11.12 at 11:35 am }

Hell, I’m black and Buddhist and I know what Kosher is and have for a loooong time. Even if you don’t precisely know what it means, you know that Jewish people won’t eat it cause it’s not Kosher and the two are somehow connected even if you don’t know precisely what Kosher is. I love marshmallows and gelatin ingredients are unspeakable but they’re gluten free. Would the counsellor know that?

27 deathstar { 07.11.12 at 11:36 am }

Your child knows his own mind. Love that!

28 Jendeis { 07.11.12 at 12:33 pm }

I love your children. 🙂 The best part might have been the Chickie Nob basically telling the other kids, “I know something you don’t know!” It reminded me of when you and Josh got engaged. 🙂

29 a { 07.11.12 at 1:55 pm }

Clearly, that girl did not read her Judy Blume while growing up. I don’t think I knew any Jewish people until I was a junior in high school, but I certainly knew what kosher meant. I believe it was either due to my mother’s experiences with her father at … well, let’s be current and call it the Canal St. market (it had a different/offensive name back in the 1950s and 1960s) or due to reading Starring Sally J. Freidman As Herself.

Well, I’m sure Chickienob made an otherwise boring day at robot camp very exciting!

30 a { 07.11.12 at 2:05 pm }

And here I thought gelatin was made of horses…

I had no idea what marshmallows are made of. I’ll eat ’em once in a while anyway.

31 missohkay { 07.11.12 at 2:10 pm }

Growing up, I didn’t know a single Jewish person but I still knew what Kosher was. Yeah, probably just because of Hebrew National hotdogs (which apparently aren’t really Kosher, what the what? Good thing you wouldn’t touch a hotdog with a ten-foot-pole. Or for that matter build anything with it at engineering camp). I’ve lost my train of thought here… I think I was building to the fact that I love how smart and independent your kids are! I hope someday mine will be the same.

32 Maria { 07.11.12 at 3:59 pm }

Seriously stinkin’ hilarious! Shoot, I’d bring my kid around yours just for the education. Ha!

33 Io { 07.11.12 at 4:15 pm }

Owwwww! The laughing is making my punctured ovaries hurt! That is hilarious.

34 jjiraffe { 07.11.12 at 4:54 pm }

Hee! I love this story.

35 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.11.12 at 5:15 pm }

I hope you have s’more camp stories in the coming days.


36 Queenie { 07.11.12 at 5:19 pm }

I can’t day I’ve ever thought about what gelatin is made of before, although I once tried to make my own chicken broth and ended up with an entire stockpot of chicken jello, which was most unpleasant. It’s so easy to keep things far removed from their origins when they come wrapped in paper on a store shelf and don’t look at all like dead animals.

BTW, thanks for the recent shout out. As usual, I’m behind in responding.

37 Chickenpig { 07.11.12 at 7:47 pm }

There are other ways of making marshmallows, and not all gelatin is either made from fish bones or other animal products. I’m sure kosher marshmallows could be found…possibly?

Most people in my corner of the world probably don’t know what kosher means, but I’m in the backwoods of CT. And perhaps I’m wrong because I’ve lived here all my life and I know what kosher means. But then again, I also know that not all gelatin comes from animal products and that the first marshmallows weren’t made with gelatin.

38 Mali { 07.11.12 at 11:54 pm }

“And then they freaked out and kept shouting, “what is wrong with marshmallows?” and my counselor got very concerned and told the kids to go home and Google it if they really wanted to know but that we weren’t going to talk about it at camp. She had to say that a lot of times. I guess I just don’t understand why parents don’t tell their kids about the dead fish bones.”

Hilarious! I could just see the scene of panic. I’m still smiling.

And I have to say – I live in New Zealand, where there are VERY few Jewish people, and even I know what kosher means (and did so even before a friend who kept kosher visited).

39 jen { 07.12.12 at 12:33 am }

Ok….LMAO! Gelatin use to be made of pig bones so I wouldn’t eat it when I was a kid too! This made me laugh so hard!

40 edenland { 07.12.12 at 8:27 am }

I just googled gelatin. MIND? BLOWN.

41 Erica { 07.12.12 at 11:37 am }

I laughed for a ling time over this. I love how ChickieNob stands up for herself, and also how she was kind of horrified that not everyone knew what was in marshmallows – if I were a kid, I would want to know about marshmallows!

42 Jo { 07.12.12 at 3:27 pm }

Ok, had to Google it. I knew gelatin was made from animal bones, but wow! It’s everywhere! Out of curiosity, do you also avoid medications where gelatin is a binding agent? I would never have even thought of that “gel coating” being un-kosher! Consider me educated. 🙂

43 Emily @ablanket2keep { 07.13.12 at 12:51 am }

HAHAHA Awesome!

44 battynurse { 07.13.12 at 1:43 pm }

I have to admit that when it comes to food I tend to take an ignorance is bliss attitude and I don’t really want to know how marshmallows are made. I like them and want to continue to like them. Same with hot dogs.

45 Amy Elaine { 07.23.12 at 1:20 pm }

Oh my word. I love ChickieNob soooooooooooo much.

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